Nine months after the start of the “yellow vests” movement, a study published by the OFCE returns to the foundations of the crisis of consent to tax in France. The author, a researcher at the CNRS, identifies a correlation with the level of education, age and distance from a large city.
The debate on tax rejection has often focused on tax exile, which suggests that the phenomenon primarily concerns the richest. The “yellow vests” movement has shown that this crisis of consent to tax could erupt in the popular classes. Nine months after the first gatherings on the roundabouts, the CNRS researcher, Alexis Spire, published in the OFCE journal new conclusions on the fiscal fed-up of the French, restating the data of his last survey carried out on a representative sample of 2,900 people in 2017.
The study is rich in lessons on the rejection of the tax. First, the researcher found a correlation between the feeling of tax injustice and the distance from a large city. His work shows that inhabitants of small towns (between 2,000 and 20,000 inhabitants) are respectively 1.68 and 1.35 times more inclined to find the CSG and income tax unfair than those of large cities (from 200,000 to 1 , 9 million inhabitants).
In rural areas, the proportion is 1.4 times higher than in large cities. “The further you move away from big cities, the more the feeling of being unfairly taxed increases, says Alexis Spire, who associates this feeling with distance from public services. Residing in rural areas or in small towns can nurture the conviction of being withdrawn like others, without enjoying the same public investments. “
Divide according to diploma
Another cleavage: the educational level of the respondents. The study shows that “Higher education graduates stand out by their membership in all the levies (except the ISF) compared to less qualified than them”. The researcher tested knowledge of two levies, income tax and VAT, with respondents, and found that the tax was better accepted when understood. Among individuals with a higher level than the baccalaureate, the share of those who consider the income tax unfair is 10 points lower (18% instead of 28%) depending on whether or not they know how it works.
Another lesson: the feeling of tax injustice decreases with age. Thus young people aged 18 to 29 are 31% to find the income tax unfair, while those over 60 years are only 16% of this opinion, a difference which can be explained “By knowledge effects”.
Only the CSG is considered particularly unfair by the elderly. “The youngest have always known the CSG as a stable levy on their remuneration, which is not the case for the over 50s who have seen its rate drop from 1% to 9.2%”, explains the study.
Paradoxically, the survey does not identify a clear correlation according to the level of income. Three-quarters of taxpayers in a taxable household consider income tax to be fair, compared to 64% for those who are not. However, the study does not distinguish among households earning more than 4,000 euros, which remains a very heterogeneous category of taxpayers.
Fed up with exacerbated taxation
In any case, the feeling of fiscal fed-up seems to have worsened in recent years. No less than 88% of taxpayers believe that “France is a country where we pay too many charges and too many taxes”. In a previous survey from 2013, this sentence garnered 84% approval. The study recalls the attachment of the French to the ISF, which only 20% of respondents qualified as unfair, against 25% for income tax, 41% for housing tax and 48% for CSG.